“Whereas, Almighty God hath created the mind free; That all attempts to influence it by temporal punishments or burthens, or by civil incapacitations tend only to beget habits of hypocrisy and meanness, and therefore are a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, who being Lord, both of body and mind yet chose not to propagate it by coercions on either, as was in his Almighty power to do,”
January 16 marks the anniversary of the passage of the Virginia Statue of Religious Freedom by the Virginia General Assembly in 1786. Thomas Jefferson, who initially drafted this document several years earlier, felt so strongly about the importance of this document that it was one of only three accomplishments that he wished to have included in his epitaph. What are the other two achievements listed on Jefferson’s gravestone? Here is the epitaph: “Here was buried Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of American Independence, of the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom, and father of the University of Virginia.” How amazing it is that he his presidency was of so little importance that he chose not to mention it! How different our elected officials have become….
The next few posts will focus on the Virginia Statue of Religious Freedom. It is yet another document which is only briefly touched upon in most schools. However, it clearly and concisely gives us a window into the thoughts and values of those who created and affirmed our Founding Documents.
Please take a moment to be thankful that we live in a country where each individual may worship in the manner of his or her choice….It is an amazing place where people of all faiths, even if that faith is in the belief that a deity does not exist, can peacefully coexist. Our tolerance for opinions which do not mirror our own is What IS Right With America!
The attached image was taken at Mirror Lake in Glacier National Park, Montana.